News Release

Latter-day Saints Around the World: Country Newsroom Websites, December 17, 2020

Newsroom features stories from its dozens of websites around the world to show what members and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are doing to serve their communities. Today we feature news from Panama, Brazil, Bolivia, Vanuatu and the United States.


Panama: 33,000 Medical Supplies Donated to Panama City

To assist in fighting COVID-19, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated over 33,000 medical supplies to the Ministry of Health (MINSA) in Panama City.

According to the Panama Newsroom (Spanish), the contributions were delivered on November 26, 2020, by Elder Johnny Francisco Ruiz, a local leader , and other representatives of the Church. The supplies were received by the Vice Minister of Health and will be distributed to 20 health centers.

Brazil: COVID-19 Patients Cared for in Modified Chapel

Between April and October of this year, 320 COVID-19 patients in and near Vila Xavier, Brazil, were cared for in a chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that functioned as a temporary hospital. The Brazil Newsroom (Portuguese) explained that when cases in nearby Araraquara began to spike, local leaders of the Church partnered with city officials to temporarily transform the place of worship into a place of healing. Twenty patients were cared for at a time, and the building was recognized as an extension of the UPA (Emergency Care Unit) across the street.

In a recent small ceremony, the city’s health secretary, Eliana Honain, returned the keys to the chapel to Otávio Martins, president of the Araraquara Stake (a group of congregations).

Honain described the temporary use of the worship space as a “very noble gesture by the Church.” The decline in COVID-19 cases in the area “was thanks to the participation of all,” she said. “I thank the Church and the whole community.”

Over 300 Church members and missionaries clean Central Urban Park in La Paz which had become overgrown during the pandemic, Bolivia.© 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Bolivia: 300 Volunteers Clean the Central Urban Park of La Paz

One hundred young missionaries from the Bolivia La Paz Mission and 200 Church members from the Copacabana stake gathered in the early hours of November 13 to clean the 96-acre Central Urban Park (PUC) of La Paz.

The Bolivia Newsroom (Spanish) story notes that the park’s deterioration and overgrowth were due, in part, to the park’s closure to slow the spread of COVID-19. During their day of service, the participants were able to clear 600 meters (over 1,900 feet) of the park’s running track. It was the second service project the Copacabana Stake has helped organize in the last month.

“[Latter-day Saints] are an example,” said Andrea Cornejo, president of the municipal council of La Paz. “We know them for their service.”

Vanuatu: Church Participates in and Helps Fund Interfaith National Week of Prayer

From November 22 to November 29, the island nation of Vanuatu held its first national week of prayer. Pastor Fred Tui and Pastor Simon Lovo of the Committee of the Vanuatu Unity Week and National Week of Prayer, along with President Yvon Basil of the Port Vila Stake of the Church, came together to unite people in prayer. President Basil also made a small donation on behalf of the Church to help fund activities during the week.

“We need to understand that we are all children of God regardless of our religion,” Pastor Tui said. “This nation needs healing, and through working together, we will make a difference.”

The Pacific Newsroom (English) reported that the week of prayer began with a parade and included eight days of prayer meetings and other activities hosted by various churches.

Bolivia: Food and Biosecurity Supplies Delivered to the Citizens of Vinto

According to the Bolivia Newsroom (Spanish), the mayor of Vinto, Julieta Alcocer, accepted a donation from the Church to Vinto citizens on November 30. It was presented by local Church leader Elder Tito Ibañez and other Church representatives. Over 6,000 people will be assisted by the 500 food kits and 150 biosecurity suits that were delivered.

Idaho-JustServe December 2020.2
Youth show off their JustServe t-shirts as they participate in the Scouting for Food Drive through JustServe in Idaho.© 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

United States: Church Members Help Gather Over 200,000 Pounds of Provisions for Scouting for Food Drive

Hundreds of Church and community members in Magic Valley and Treasure Valley, Idaho, responded to a post on JustServe to help gather supplies for the Scouting for Food Drive organized by the Boy Scouts of America. The project resulted in 200,461 pounds of food for the Idaho Food Bank.

“Thanks to everyone that helped make Scouting for Food 2020 a huge success,” a food bank representative said. “With the great support of Boy Scouts of America, Mountain West Council and volunteers through JustServe, we were able to collect … enough food for over 167,000 meals.” The food will support families in the Boise and Meridian areas.

United States: Seminary Students #LighttheWorld with More Than 5,000 Pounds of Food

Between November 30 and December 15, 2020, students from three Church seminaries collected 5,285 pounds of food to deliver to Tabitha’s Way, a food pantry in Utah County.

After learning that the demand for food in their area had increased by 300 percent during the pandemic, hundreds of Church seminary students (between the ages of 14 and 18) gathered food to help ease the burden. The students hailed from Lone Peak High School, Timberline Middle School and Mountain Ridge School. Ella, a participant from Lone Peak High, described the project as “a bright reminder [ ] that God is still aware of us . . . in hard times.”

“Participating in [the drive] was one of the highlights of my year,” she said. “I watched classmates come together, families get involved and a seminary unite under one common goal. I was humbled by the amount of food that was donated and the people that stepped up to load and sort the items.”

The project was also part of the Church’s annual #LightTheWorld initiative, which encourages members and friends of the global faith to draw closer to Jesus Christ and serve in their communities during the Christmas season. Addie, a student also from Lone Peak High, said that “as we share the Savior’s light through selfless service, we [are] blessed with strength and peace.”


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